Are North Americans Jobists?

Well, the reason I want to money is because I NEED it too. True, I need it for different things than you, but my need is still there. I’ve worked myself into a position at my job were, as a colleague so delicately phrased it “you’ve got the boss by the short hairs,” and I can talk now about how much more it is going to cost him to keep me from going elsewhere. If you were to work hard, become indispensable, the money will come.


LOL. Hell, when I was eighteen I voted for Mondale. :o If I can live that foible down, I’m sure you can live the above statement down.

I agree that temps in the workplace are treated differently, and rightly so. I know that I’m not a permanent employee, and I’m fine with that. I do expect to be treated with respect in every job I do, however, and have been quite disappointed at some companies. At the assignment I’m currently at, I call myself “The Office Furniture”, because I’m moved around, have my job duties changed, and assigned any duty anyone else doesn’t want to do - which is fine, but as a deference to my humanity, I would like to be told about all the decisions other people are making about my work life (consulted would be even better, but I’m a realist). You tell humans when you’re changing their job; you don’t tell office furniture.

Why is that screwed up? You don’t owe those people anything. And greed isn’t just limited to the US. Do you think people are that diferent in other countries?

To some people, it may seem like I have it all. A good high paying job. A nice appartment. Lots of friends. But I’d give it all up in a second for just a little more.

So what’s a crappy salary? Are you going to pay your entire staff $100,000 a year? You won’t be in business very long.
I’ll admit that I totally give in to jobism. When I hear someone works at a Burger King drive in window, I think less of them than I do someone who works as a banker or lawyer. Why is that? Because a banker or a lawyer has to have the discipline and ability to pursue an advanced degree compared to the sub high school requirement of the McDs employee. Lawyers and bankers also work a lot harder than fast food guys. When was the last time a burger flipper worked a 100 hr work week?

So, to some extend, your job defines who you are and what you’re about. But there is something that everyone has in common, regardless of their job:

  1. The boss is a moron
  2. The coworkers are incompetent
  3. You are overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated

Sure, there’s a difference between a burger flipper and a doctor or lawyer. But many a time I’ve walked in to a fast food place and seen the people just hustle their butts. “Man!” I’ve thought, “These people work hard!” I know it all depends on the fast food employee, because some suck, and some don’t. (Same could be said for a doctor or lawyer, for that matter.) But some dead-end jobs are HARD work. It’s a different kind of hard, that’s all. And, I might add, some dead-end jobs require lots of overtime. My last job had months of mandatory 60 hour weeks. And it was all extremely stressful, and (in my case) required a particular skill and talent that a lot of people don’t have, degree or not. (I worked in a photo lab, doing very detailed photo retouching. I can think of at least one person with an art degree that got turned away from my job, because they weren’t good enough to do it.) And while we’re on the subject of degrees, please refer to the "arrogance of academics thread that I cited in an earlier post here.

Oh yeah, and then there’s my current dead-end job. I work with mentally retarded people. I take care of their basic needs, look after them, etc. Some of it isn’t pretty, some of it is rather, well, basic, if you get my drift. I frickin’ guarantee you that some of you wouldn’t have the guts to do it, or rather, would never wish to develop the stomach or personality to do it. But someone has to, right? The fact that the job is dead-end and requires only a high school diploma doesn’t make it any less difficult. And I also guarantee you, if someone you cared about was mentally retarded, you would value what people like me do. Well, at least I hope you would. I would hope you’d see past the fact that it is a dead-end job that doesn’t require an advanced degree, and not look down your nose at the likes of me.

I knew that this argument would enter into the discussion sooner or later. The thing about jobism is that you don’t know the circumstances that have led people to the jobs they are doing, so treating them differently (read “worse”)based on their job just doesn’t make sense. I would put my discipline and ability to pursue an advanced degree up against anyone’s; I have 5 years of post-secondary education, and I get up each day and show up for work on time at a job that I passionately hate - that’s discipline. My circumstances in life have led me to be where I am now; I wasn’t always here, and I won’t always be here, but I’m here now, and I still deserve the same respect that any lawyer or banker deserves.

Jobism is real and is stupid.

I am as guilty as the next person BUT you should treat people by ‘how they are’ and not ‘what they do’.

Its like treating people because of their appearance, we all do it, because its a shorthand way of feeling that we ‘understand where this person is coming from’.

good responses to ‘what do you do’ question…

‘about what ?’
'what i want mainly ’
country club vs fast food job - try get the easy job !

life is not fair

BUT luck evens itself out, if you are having a hard time now then you could get your luck later in life and vice versa they will get the bad luck…

Why ?

Jobism,mmm, its about judging someone because of there wealth, perhaps if people pursued happiness instead of money.

Hey dude; could you clarify your question, if you are asking me a question based on my earlier post? Thanks.

Why after all that education do you do a job you hate ?

Jeez, Dude, you’re asking a hard question. In my earlier years, I flitted from one interest to the next (started a degree in Biology/English, went on to become a Medical Lab Tech, became an accredited business machine repair tech, then went to school to become a professional secretary), without finding my one, true career. I’ve been working as a temp for 5 years now, because temping was supposed to be just a step on my career ladder. Because I’m apparently more mature now, I don’t just drop things and pick up new ones like I used to, so I’m trying to figure out what my next career move will be before I get out of temping. That’s where my difficulty is coming in; I want to move out of temping, but I don’t know what I want to move into. It’s also not helping that I have different attitudes and responsibilities than I had when I was a young adult, and that continuing education courses are about %300 more expensive than they were 10 years ago.

What do you want? A medal for showing up to work? That’s the LEAST that is expected of you in order to keep your job. Complaining about circumstances is just an excuse. Most peoples career lasts until they are 65. If you can’t work your way up from burger flipper in 65 years, what does that say about a person?

All people should be treated with respect and we should all avoid stereotyping. However, regardless of how much money you make, the career path you choose says a lot about you as a person. A fireman, teacher, lawyer, and doctor are all very different professions. Each has advantages and disadvantages in terms of money, free time, and excitement.

But, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m jobist. I tend to date girls who are professional (as in lawyers or financial analysts, not as in protitutes) because I like smart women. I’ve dated dumb women in the past and I find them totally uninteresting. Most of my friends are also professional. Partly, because I met them at work or college. Also, because I don’t have much in common with someone who drives a truck or lays roof shingles. I have nothing against those people, but my friends and I like to do things that cost money. Someone who doesn’t make as much would feel left out since they couldn’t afford the $20 cover or $8 drinks at the clubs we go to. Not to mention they probably don’t want to blow a lot of money on the $60 dress shirts and pants that you need to get past the bouncers.

And ‘dude’, if you wait for luck or life to even out, you’ll be waiting a long time. I like to feel that I’m in control of my own destiny. If I’m not in control, I like to at least have an active role. People who get ahead do so because of ability and desire. If you are content with an average job, that’s fine, but don’t think that most people who are successful just get that way because of luck.

msmith537, I responded to your post above as well - I am curious - would you look down your nose at the likes of me? I mean, I have a totally dead-end job, taking care of mentally retarded people. What does that “say” about me, in your esteemed opinion?

Glad you admit it.

Well, sure, dumb is less interesting than smart. But what does that have to do with what kind of JOB a person has?

My dad was not DUMB, even though he worked for the post office. He didn’t go to college because he had bad eyes, and he was pressured to not go to college (he could have used the GI Bill) for fear he’d stress out his eyes. (Or “eye” - but that’s a long story.) That’s HIS life story. Maybe he made the wrong choice, but it’s water under the bridge. But even though he didn’t go to college, he didn’t turn off his brain. He just filled his library with books on history, biology, astronomy, and was rather an expert on Classical Music. He held his own in many a conversation with far more formally educated people. Would someone like my dad be “interesting” enough for you? Or would the fact that he worked for the lowly Post Office automatically make you decide that he must be “dumb”, or someone not worthy of as much regard or respect as a doctor or lawyer?

You mistake intelligence with extravagance. Or rather, with different priorities. One of my sisters has a very nice college degree, is a “professional” who makes plenty of money. Trust me - she would NEVER waste her money on such things. She’d rather attend a nice Beethoven concert at the Hollywood Bowl than get drinks at a club. It’s not about money, (well, not primarily) and it’s not about intelligence or education. It’s about priorities, and personal tastes.

What you are talking about is a lifestyle - where you want to spend money on expensive clothes, and use your free time hanging out in clubs. Hey - nothing wrong with that. My sisters and I like nice clothes too. Difference is, we enjoy making them. We can appreciate the good cut of a garment as well as the next person, but since we sew ourselves, it comes from a different perspective. Not everyone derives satisfaction out of making things by hand, but we do. And no, we don’t spend our free time in clubs. Not interested. But we’ll attend a nice concert, or go to a art show opening. But does that make the likes of us “less intelligent” or “less educated” than you and your gang, or does it just make us DIFFERENT?

Would you be able to guess all these things about me (or my entire family) just with the information that my dad worked in a Post Office, I work with retarded people? Would you be able to guess from my job alone that I am a relatively decent potter who has been in many galleries and art shows? Some “starving artists” take dead-end jobs while they pursue their art on the side, you know. But you’d never know that, by just judging a person by their job

As a personal aside - I admit to my own prejudices in this matter. I feel sorry (I guess that’s the word) for someone whose priorities involve spending money at clubs, and getting expensive clothes. Is that IT for you? Don’t you do anything creative? Do you play a musical instrument? Do you paint? Anything? And if you do, why don’t you talk about that with pride here, instead of telling us how much your frickin’ dress shirt costs? Yeah, I admit, I carry a bias against that.

And while I’m in my little rant mode - I have another question for msmith. I remember reading an article about a very (very) accomplished artist. He was on the cover of the magazine, as a matter of fact. His understanding of color was just amazing, and his oil painting technique was gorgeous. His work was in art galleries, and obviously quite accomplished as an artist.

The thing was, he told in the magazine interview, he worked contruction half of the year. He said it paid well. He’d work half a year, save up his money, and then paint the rest of the year. Now, I assume that the way things were going for him that eventually he’d be able to make more money with painting, and then he’d have to spend less time with construction. But at the time the article was written (several years ago) that was his way of life.

So - because this guy worked (gasp!) construction - what does that “say” about him? If you met him while he was doing construction, you’d never know that he spent the rest of his year painting fabulous paintings, that were admired by many and were in prestigious art galleries. Would the fact that he was an accomplished artist be “enough” dedication and hard work for you? Or is he merely defined by his construction job?

It’s probably very true, that a guy like that wouldn’t have a “lot in common” with you. But frankly, between the two of you, I think he sounds far more interesting. He’s busy being an artist, creating beautiful things, and making a living in an unorthadox way.

Do you have beautiful paintings (or pottery, or sculpture) in your home? What kind of people do you think make these beautiful things? Would you consider them worthy of respect? Would you consider them “interesting” enough for you?

[sub]Yeah, yeah, I know I’m long-winded. Some things just get my craw, you know? [/sub]

No, I’m not looking for sympathy or a medal; just hoping to open your mind a little bit to the possibility that the world isn’t as black and white as you seem to think it is.


I agree; it is important, however, to still consider that people are a lot more than the job they are doing.


I agree with yosemitebabe here; this seems to be more of a lifestyle choice than a jobist choice. Would you go out clubbing with a smart receptionist who makes a ton of money and dresses very expensively and likes to do the same things that you do? If the one fly in the ointment is the job someone is doing, yeah, that’s a jobist attitude.


Back to the definition of “jobist” - prejudice towards other people based on the job they are doing. It has nothing to do with successful/not successful. Every person defines their own success; I have my own definition of success, and it doesn’t include a scramble up the corporate ladder. I don’t want other people to make value judgements about me based on that, though. I want to be valued and accepted as the person I am at work, not looked down on because of the job I’m doing.

Er, Smith, you like smart women and you’re dating LAWYERS?!? Don’t mean to be jobist, but they’re the biggest idiots around… :wink:

Seriously though, it seems a real shame (as Yosemitebabe has already stated) that you’re restricting your social contacts based on the price of your pants. In fact, that’s gotta be one of the funniest pre-conditions to friendship I’ve ever heard. Some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet, and the one’s that will teach you the most about life, are people who are different from you. My social contacts range from a para-legal to a cook to a person responsible for the University’s mainframe to a guy who works construction to a grad student in Art History to a librarian to a etc. etc. etc… Every one of them is fascinating in their own way and I wouldn’t trade knowing them for the world. Sorry you’ll miss out on all those interesting people out there because they don’t have the right pants on.

Let’s see if I can answer some of your questions:

I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. I was not trying to imply that every job that doesn’t have six figure potential is somehow inferior. My point was that peoples careers tend to reflect their interests, goals and abilities. Your particular choice to care for disabled people obviously shows that you have more interest in helping people than making tons of money. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m not sure why you would be so defensive about your career choice.

You don’t find too many REALLY dumb engineers, physicists, lawyers or investment bankers. There are some people who, quite frankly, are not that smart and couldn’t handle those type of jobs. Kind of how some people are better physically equiped to be firemen or professional wrestlers.

The “eye” story sounds suspect. Your dad qualified for military service but was afraid of stressing out his eyes in college? And staring at postage meters all day isn’t stressful on the eyes?

Stupid doesn’t work both ways. A smart person can be in a less intelectually challenging job, however a really stupid person would have trouble lasting in a job above his abilities.

Also, just because a person has an interesting job, doesn’t make them interesting. I work with plenty of jerks who have the same job I do.

Often lifestyle is tied to a persons job. Where you live, who your friends are, what hobbies you can afford, where you vacation. These are all things that are tied directly or indirectly to a persons career choice.

It’s like lawyers at a firm who are all supposed to join the same country club or six guys from the same company who always golf or bowl together.

My priority is not to spend money at clubs. My friends and I live in a major city, however, and bars and clubs make a convenient place to meet up socially. We tend to like bars where other professionals meet

Also, for me to do my job effectively, clients need to feel that I’m competent. Part of that, like it or not, is the image I portray. If I show up wearing a home made shirt (which would look like shit if it was made in MY home) instead of some Brooks Brothers geer, my clients wouldn’t feel as comfortable.

Actually, I spent a lot of time at construction sites in my first job. My undergrad degree was in Civil Engineering although I don’t do that anymore (for a short time I also doubled in Architecture, but I dropped that part of my program). One of the carpenters I worked with was a former VP of an airline who gave up the corporate lifestyle. His carpenter job paid well enough, it allowed him to be outside and be his own boss. (When my new job starts, the only time I’ll see outside is during the walk to the subway). Once again, his job choice reflected those things that were important too him.

Right now, I’m not even working. I just finished grad school and decided to take the summer off. It’s nice because I’ve been able to spend some time focusing on things that are actually fun like sketching (I don’t have room to paint in my apartment), rollarblading, traveling or just hanging outside in the park doing nothing while everyone is at work. Even better, I have time to do stuff that I would normally never have time for like karate, rock climbing, canoeing, or whatever crosses my mind.

So basically, I’m now the “guy who doesn’t workwho goes out all the time”.

Well, first off, msmith, I have to address my dad’s story:

Oh, how dare you. You couldn’t have asked for more clarification, you just had to say my dad’s tale was “suspect”? Well, my dear, it’s not.

My dad lost the use of one eye when he was a child. Totally blind in that eye. The other eye was very near-sighted, so he had to wear thick glasses. He served as a WW II prison guard, (he couldn’t go overseas.)

He was supporting his widowed mother and two younger sisters. The dad (my grandfather) had died at an extremely young age (I think 41.) My dad became the “man of the house” at a young age, and his mom was worried about that one remaining eye. She urged him not to go to college after the war, because she was worried that the stress of college, plus a full time job would be too much for him. I think she was wrong. We all think she was wrong. But my dad, being 25 or so at the time, and being the “man of the house” (and this was in the late 1940s) must have felt some obligation to his mother. It was a different era back then, and I guess he felt he had to “honor his mother”. We all think he made a big mistake, but too late now.

And yes, he was very, very smart. My mom tells stories of how he could converse with people working at museums, and they were astonished by his knowledge. He wasn’t well-rounded in every issue, but in the issues he was interested (history, biology) he was pretty damned smart. And his knowledge of Classical music was downright scary. He tormented all of the family with “pop quizzes” like “Name the composer!” “Name the nationality of the composer of this mystery music!” and stuff like that. Man, he was scary. Thousands of records he had. DUMB people rarely are that scary and knowledgable about music, believe me.

Oh, I’m not defensive as a rule. But why should I not assume that you would not look down on my job? It requires little formal education (you only need a high school diploma) and it is dead-end. TOTALLY dead-end. And yet there are people who keep this job for 25 years or more. They needed NO education for it. And hasn’t this been one of your main criteria? The level of education a person goes through?

Dumb, as in how? High IQ? OK, sure. But I would guess that there are plenty of engineers, lawyers, physicists, etc. who are as boring as a plank, have no common sense, no sense of humor. I mean, I have met people like that. I know that not all smart people are not like that, but trust me, some are. There’s more to this equation than DUMB vs. SMART. Two of the dearest people I know are what you might call “dumb” (well, at least not exceedingly smart). They are co-workers at the job I currently have. They are not “college material”, but they are so sweet, and funny, have a lot of common sense, and great to be around and talk to. Give me my “dumb” friends any day.

To a certain extent, perhaps. But definitely not always. I have the same “career” (if it can be called that) as my co-workers. But our hobbies, our friends, and where we go on vacation are vastly different. I like to travel far more than most of my co-workers (always to Yosemite, at the very least.) I am into Classical music, pottery, art, web design. None of my co-workers are. No matter what kind of job I’d ever have, I’d ALWAYS travel to Yosemite, and I’d ALWAYS have hobbies that are art and music-related. My one sister, who is the well-paid professional, has markedly simular hobbies and interests. Why, how can that be? She makes tons more money than me, and has a better formal education, a great job! And as we know, “often lifestyle is tied to a person’s job”!

Doesn’t fit me, or my professional sister. We hang out with our co-workers when we can, but we definitely have our own thing. A lot of my friends drink at bars, and gamble at casinos. I’ll politely go along with them for a spell, but it is SO totally not my thing. And I’d hazard a guess and say that I would have a hard time dragging any of my co-workers to a Sibelius concert. Just because we have the same jobs, doesn’t mean we have much else in common.

Well, duh. What have we been telling you? So why did you write “I tend to date girls who are professional (as in lawyers or financial analysts, not as in protitutes) because I like smart women.” Why the mention of how you tend to date girls who are professional, “because you like smart women”. Why do you make a point of mentioning that you date professional women? Like they’ve cornered the market on "interesting? for you? Women in other professions are not “smart”?

Fine, each job has its “costume”. But what does that have to do with the kinds of friends you make? And if you met a brick layer whose wife made a great dress shirt (it’s not hard to get hand-sewn clothes to “pass” - the clothes I make “pass” all the time) would you hang out with them? If they were “interesting” enough? Could they hang out with all the other expensive-shirt buddies of yours?

That sounds great. And if you just met him without knowing his past history, you wouldn’t know about his VP past, would you. You’d just see him as just another carpenter, and judge him accordingly. So why do you admit that you are a jobist, when so obviously someone’s job doesn’t even begin to tell the entire story about them?

What? Unemployed bum! :wink:

So - let me ask you. Do any of your expensive-shirt/expensive-club friends share all these interests? Do you hang out with them and sketch with them? Do they all paint, and rollerblade, and canoe? Do you think only professional people have these interests?

To quote your previous post:

I don’t get this. You now say that you sketch and paint, canoe, rock climb, etc. And do you really think that there are no truck drivers or shingle layers that would not share these interests? I don’t buy it. As I’ve already (exhaustively) told you, many artists have dead-end day jobs. So, since you like to sketch, don’t you have artist friends? And if you have artist friends, wouldn’t the odds be decent that at least one of them have an “unorthadox” job? But it sounds like you stick to your “professional” friends, (because, after all, they can afford expensive shirts.)

msmith, thinking about my previous post, I should hasten to add that I think you’re probably an OK guy, and I don’t want to come down on you too hard. But you sound like you’re pretty young, and perhaps you need to expand your horizons a bit? Like, it appeared that you assumed certain things about my dad. Granted, I didn’t give a whole lot of information about him the first time, but I was already rambling way too much, so I thought I’d be brief on his story.

You just don’t know the whole story with people all the time, (especially on a message board, when you don’t know where they come from, or how old they are.) You don’t know what their backgrounds are, their hobbies, their interests, and their jobs often don’t help a lot in showing the “real” them. People do not fit into neat little cubbyholes.

“This function (the Stampede barbecue) is for all regular full-time and part-time Company X employees at $10 each. That does not include contract or temp employees. If you are contract or temp and would like to attend, the full price is $17.95.”

Temps all know we are not regular employees, and companies are fully within their rights to pull these kind of stunts, but let me assure you, it makes the temps feel about this big when they do this. This kind of thing, coupled with the attitudes on the job and off, have brought me to a place where my self-esteem is starting to suffer. I know that I’m not just my job, and that I need to disregard the put-downs, but as we all know, it is very difficult to ignore repeated negative messages of discrimination.

Featherlou, I think you are more a victim of a negative image of temporary workers than of jobism. Many people see temps as “taking someones position” rather than as filling a position. Often temps are paid a greater salary than a permanent employee in the same position, since the company doesn’t have the overhead of insurance and pension to pay. Many can’t see this and are resentful that someone (a temp no less) is being paid a greater salary than them.

I worked at accompany that used temps all the time. Not to cut costs, but rather because there were short term needs for very specific knowledge. A niche nicely served by the temp pool.

It’s almost impossible not to make comparisons with other people (just to see where you stand). Often the only information you have is what is immediately at hand.

I’m gonna stop now, because I have completely lost my train of thought. Honestly I was going to bring this all together with a couple of very concise sentences. Got to rambling and now nothing.

A question for Yosemitebabe:

Your father included?